By 1820, when he was almost deaf, Beethoven composed his greatest works.
"For the last three years my hearing has grown steadily weaker..." - so wrote Beethoven, aged 30, in a letter to a friend.
The young Beethoven was known as the most important musician since Mozart. By his mid-20s, he had studied with Haydn and was celebrated as a brilliant, virtuoso pianist.
By the time he turned 30 he had composed a couple of piano concertos, six string quartets, and his first symphony. Everything was looking pretty good for the guy, with the prospect of a long, successful career ahead.
Then, he started to notice a buzzing sound in his ears - and everything was about to change.
By 1820, Beethoven was almost totally deaf but he composed his greatest works during this period.